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Blurring the line between gift and giver

When my son was younger, he seemed perplexed that while he got the whole summer off from school, I still went to work. Wait, what? Did I do that on purpose? I wondered if he thought I just didn't want to stay at home and have fun. "What the heck is up with Tato ?" (Years later I now wonder how the prospect and realization of a life with a job with barely three weeks off a year doesn't make him not want to 'grow up', or more to the point secretly scares him silly, but that is a different topic). A week out from Christmas Day, local schools were holding their last day of classes before the year end holidays and I was in that suspended state of still going to work for several more days before my much shorter holiday began. Our office was undergoing renovation on that Friday, so I was supposed to work from home for the afternoon. In short I view working from home as no treat, so instead, I arranged to take the afternoon off as a community service time (This is t

Chasing the sinking sun

California and nearly every other State ended Daylight Savings Time and reverted to Standard time this past weekend. My first chance to be affected by this change came on my commute home from work on Monday. Most of my route is along Bike Boulevards in Emeryville, or on bike or multi-use paths through Berkeley, then along the Bay Trail all the way up to Richmond. On Monday evening, it struck me that by far, most of the riders I saw that evening after the sun had set, had nothing in the way of lighting. I could not believe that so many people has simply forgotten about the time change. I thought I recalled passing ten riders, two of which had any kind of lighting. Leaving more or less on time in the morning on Tuesday, I had nearly full daylight for my ride which I really appreciated. On the way home, I left after sunset but still somewhat within civil twilight. A mile or two into the ride and it was dark and all that time, lights were more than just a good idea. Again, I encountered r

Countdown to R-12: ten out of twelve down

For my October 200km I was busy on the day of my club's Winters 200km brevet (I worked the ride instead) but with so many local permanents to choose from, I still had lots of options. I chose the route that started the closest to my home, RUSA Permanent #555 . I happen to know quite a bit about this route, including it's genesis. Bruce Berg, the permanent owner based the route largely on a club ride with the Grizzly Peak Cyclists, the Berkeley to Davis route . I've liked this route from the first time I ever rode it with friends from the GPC, and I've always felt it had an element of adventure to it. What adds that element is that the route is not an out and back or a loop route. It's a one way route. Return is almost always by Amtrak, which when the group is big lends an opportunity for everyone to get a chance to talk to other riders that they may not have ridden near all day, or when the group is small a chance to compare notes on the day. What sets the Berkele

Crossing the Two Rock Valley

It's funny about all the things that can crop up to complicate a seemingly simple plan to ride ride at least one 200km a month for twelve consecutive months. My own plan began before I was aware of it, when in June of this year I realized I had a string of six consecutive months with a 200km brevet completed in each month (Jan-SFR 200km, Feb-SRCC 200km, March-SRCC 300km, April-SFR 400km, May-SFR 600km, June-SFR 230km). An ambitious plan A did not get met, and plan B had to be put into effect. August's 200km permanent came off with out much drama, but then September rolled around. There were grand plans for high mileage for the month of September, and completing the SFR Russian River 200km was plotted for the 2nd weekend of the month. Not one, but two big obstacles arose to put the kibosh on that plan. On what was to be an easy 95 miler with a handful of fellow SFR riders, an oddly placed car stop in the parking lot near the Peets in Petaluma interrupted my ride in a painful

Too early to plan 2010? Heck no!

In Northern California, we brevet riders are lucky in that we have four 'local' clubs putting on brevets which gives us lots of options. There are no less than 24 brevets on the tentitive calendar, a sortable table can be seen here as well as the static one below: Tentative 2010 Northern California Brevet Schedule Club Date Distance Start Location San Francisco Randonneurs 1-23-2010 200km Golden Gate Bridge 2-6-2010 200km Golden Gate Bridge 2-27-2010 300km Golden Gate Bridge 3-27-2010 400km Golden Gate Bridge 4-3-2010 360km+ Various 4-25-2010 200km San Rafael 5-22-2010 600km Golden Gate Bridge 6-12-2010 230km Rodeo, CA 7-17-2010 115km Golden Gate Bridge 10-09-2010 200km Rodeo, CA Santa Cruz Randonneurs 6-25-2010 1000km San Jose to Oxnard 7-24-2010 200km Santa Cruz 8-7-2010 200km Santa Cruz 8-21-2010 300

Progress report

I began this blog first as a place to record my notes on my attempt on PBP 2007 and going forward as a place to note my progress toward preparation for the 2011 version of Paris, Brest et retour . One milestone on the brevet season would be completing the Super Randonneur series of 200, 300, 400 and 600km brevets. I was able to complete that in late May when I finished the SFR Fort Bragg 600km. Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it took me completing the June Davis Nighttime Brevet before I realized I had a string going and another marker of progress was underway: one half of the RUSA R12 award . HAWKS, Rob | San Francisco Randonneurs | 905030 Cert No. Type Km Date Organizing Club / ACP Code Medal RUSA-P03830 RUSAP 114 10-03-2009 San Francisco Randonneurs / 905030 n/a 278244 ACPB 200 01-24-2009 San Francisco Randonneurs / 905030 N 279233 ACPB 200 02-28-2009 Santa Rosa Cycling Club / 905048 N 285105 ACPB 200 04-26-2009 San Francisco Ran

Early arrival

The Bay Area pretty much has only two seasons, each with plenty of variations, but it's really just the Rainy Season and the rest of the year. The rainy season by most estimations begins on November 1st and depending on who is defining it, runs through the end of January or sometime in April. Today's storm is therefore just a bit early. Sometime overnight, the rain from this storm began and we can usually tell the nature of the storm by which window the rain splats against. This storm has wind and rain coming from the south-southeast and it seemed pretty mild then given the weather alerts. I got a late start out the door on my commute to work, and riding though my neighborhood the storm didn't seem all that bad. Lots of twigs and leaves on the roadways, but otherwise not much. However, as I made my way south toward Emeryville, the wind and rain began to intensify. My preferred route takes me along the Bay Trail and around the west side of Golden Gate Fields race track on

2009 Knoxville Fall Classic Double Century

What happens when a bunch of riders who like to go on really long bike rides gets together and decides to host their own events in order to give back to the cycling community? You get the Quack Cyclists , and their annual Devil Mountain Double (DMD) and Knoxville Fall Classic Double Century (Kx) rides, that's what. Plus, not only do you get two local Bay Area doubles in which to participate, you get two high quality local doubles in which to participate, and life, you will say to your self, hardly gets better. The DMD is held in mid to late April each year and the Knoxville is held in mid to late September each year, and while the Knoxville is clearly the easier of the two, the Knoxville Double is clearly not easy . I have fallen into the pattern of volunteering each year for the Devil Mountain Double and then riding as a participant in the Knoxville Fall Classic Double Century. This year, I completed my seventh Kx Double and 21st Triple Crown certified double century. My riding

Fridays shouldn't be like this

The day before the Knoxville Double Century, my riding companion for tomorrow wrote an email to let me know he had been in a collision caused by a driver making an illegal move. It brought to mind a similar experience I had a few years back, which I first wrote about here on the Internet Bridgestone Owners Bunch list. Below is the text from that posting to ibob. ---------------------------------------- One less MA 2 rim in the world. Flush with the promise of the impending weekend, Fridays are supposed to start out better. Stuff like this is more suited to the cliche of dismal Monday mornings. What can I expect though, when Thursday didn't really end on a high note. I got a late start out the door under the fog of the coastal marine layer. On San Pablo Avenue the construction crews were redirecting cars on the other side of the road away from the new layer of pavement being laid down. The outside lane on my side had been done a few days before so that was a small plus. Th

Announcing the first San Francisco Randonneurs Populair Event, October 3, 2009

The San Francisco Randonneurs will be holding their first Populaire event. Details can be found here Quite a number of riders don't jump feet first into doing 200km (and longer) rides, but instead build up with a series of shorter rides. The Populaire event is meant to offer a shorter distance ride with all the aspects of a brevet, including brevet cards, controls, mass starts, time limits and the usual reliance on rider self sufficiency for route finding and dealing with pitfalls a rider might face out on the road, such as flat tires and having food and water enough to reach the next control. As mentioned, this will be SFR's first time holding this event. We expect to learn a lot and use that knowledge for the next time we hold this event in 2010. If you read this and are interested in participating or supporting this event, please send mail to rba@sfrandonneurs.org. Thanks for reading.

Let's go places and eat things!

One of the bike clubs I belong to, the Grizzly Peak Cyclists, is made up of many riders that simply enjoy food and will plan routes that include, not one, not even just two but sometimes three bakeries. On these rides, I'm reminded of a snippet of a scene from a Three Stooges short subject, called 'False Alarms' , where the title of this entry is spoken by one of the characters. Twenty+ riders attended the TM and M paced versions of the "Santa Cruz Mountains" ride on Sunday, Aug. 23. The route begins at the Park and Ride on Page Mill just off of I-280 with an 8+ mile climb of Page Mill up to Skyline, followed by a twisty descent down Alpine Road. A stop in Pescadero at mile 28 might seem too early on a 100+ mile ride, but the lure of fresh baked artichoke bread at Arcangeli Grocery proves too great to overcome. From Pescadero we rode past Butano State Park on the way to Gazos Creek and Highway One. The next stop is in Davenport at mile 50, where we paused brie

Riding in a postcard

Many rides are ridden in preparation for some larger event, the date for which is often circled on the calendar in the kitchen. Just as often as those rides that warrant a note written in ink on the calendar, an unplanned or hastily planned ride is the source of just as much enjoyment and sense of accomplishment. I'm lucky in that it is expected that I'll pack a bike when we take our nearly annual camping trip to the Sierra, and this year the bike I brought along was a recently refurbished mid 1980s Scapin . Late in the planning and packing process, my son decided he wanted his bike along too. The car we borrowed had just enough space on the return trip, even though packing was like solving a three dimensional puzzle. Though we are long overdue to deviate from our traditional three Sierra camping locations, again this year we went to Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe for several days, with a move mid-trip to Tuolomne Meadows for a short stay, stopping at Grover Hot Springs for a vi

Seven twelfths

RUSA has a distance award that factors in consistency around the calendar called the R12 award. The criteria riders are required to complete is to ride at least one 200km brevet or permanent route each month. Living in Northern California, I can ride year round making only modest changes to address the weather from roughly mid-November through April. That said, the tail end of 2008 was more of a tail-off in terms of riding. Along about mid January I became re-invigorated riding wise, and I even got to ride the SFR Point Reyes Lighthouse 200km I was organizing. With that 200km, I cobbled together a string of months with at least one 200km brevet: January 24: SFR Point Reyes LightHouse 200km February 28: Santa Rosa 200km March 14: Santa Rosa 300km April 4: SFR Hopland 400km April 26: SFR Russian River 200km May 30: SFR Fort Bragg 600km June 13: SFR Nighttime Davis 200km A couple times, I was flirting with the end of the month, just sneaking in the brevet before the calendar page

What is in the works?

Yes, I admit I'm way behind in posting to this page. A run down of what I 'owe' is not a short list: finish the 2007 PBP write-up, add a write up of the SFR 600km and any missing brevets from the SR series, a Davis Double write up, and summarize my experience on the 2009 GRR. I am at work on all of those, but life intrudes upon writing about life, so there you have it. More soon, I promise. rob

Something less than 449km

Oh for three would be one way to look at it. That isn't as accurate or as descriptive as the experience calls for though. Oh for three suggests I came away empty handed for the third time on a 1200km Randonnée and that just isn't so. I came away from the 2009 Gold Rush Randonnée with quite a lot. July 6th at 6pm on the northern edge of the city of Davis was the date and location for the start of the 2009 Gold Rush Randonnée. By completing the Super Randonneur series this year, I had qualified for the Gold Rush Randonnée, a 1200 km ride in 90 hours or less that traverses the Central Valley and climbs through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the northeast corner of California at Davis Creek. On July 2nd I left work early, not because I had to go home to prepare for the ride and a week plus away from the office, but instead because I had a full blown cold and felt like crap. I went straight to bed, gulping lots of water and gobbling lots of vitamins, Echinacea , and Sudafed. Fri